It’s both boring and frustrating, but many of us do it every day… Yes, it’s the daily commute. Some 76 percent of American workers drive to work alone each day, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. This translates to about 109 million people in the U.S. driving to work on a daily basis.
There is at least one way to spice up your daily commute. You can discover and listen to new podcasts, which can help speed up your journey to work and teach you something in the process.
Here are 12 podcasts that will help make your daily commute much more bearable.
1. Who? Weekly
Have you ever been in line at the grocery store and realized you don’t recognize any of the faces on the covers of the tabloid magazines? If so, the Who? Weekly podcast is for you.
Hosted by Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, this podcast originally launched as a newsletter. It gives you weekly updates on who’s who in the current world of pop culture. In addition to keeping you entertained, Who? Weekly will help you stay on top of your water cooler game when it comes to pop culture topics.
2. Code Switch
Code Switch is a podcast from NPR that deals with the often-complicated topic of race. In each episode, journalists of color discuss the latest race-related topics as honestly as possible.
Race isn’t always the easiest subject to discuss. However, just because something isn’t easy to talk about doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. This podcast will likely make you feel uncomfortable at times, but it will also educate and inform on an important topic.
The tagline for Lore tells you just about everything you need to know: “Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.”
Aaron Mahnke writes, produces, and hosts the bi-weekly podcast, which has picked up a number of awards over the past couple of years.
The true historical stories featured on Lore will keep you riveted and wanting your commute to last even longer.
There are plenty of podcasts that deal with real-life topics. But there are also some fictional podcasts created solely for entertainment. Homecoming is one of those.
The podcast stars a handful of recognizable actors, including Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris, and David Cross. The thriller keeps you wanting to know what happens next, which will make your commute fly by.
Kelly McEvers hosts another podcast entry from NPR, and this one takes a deep look at a very specific topic.
The podcast basically puts listeners in the shoes of a different person each week, whether it’s a player in the NBA’s minor league or a nurse addicted to painkillers.
British comedian Adam Buxton hosts this interview-driven podcast, in which he chats with a different guest roughly every two weeks.
The episodes are relatively lengthy, with most clocking in at an hour or more, giving you plenty of interesting material to listen to on the way to and from work.
Unless you live near it, you probably don’t know a whole lot about Providence, Rhode Island.
That will change when you listen to the engrossing Crimetown podcast from Gimlet. Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier co-host the podcast, which aims to look at real-life crime in cities across the country.
First up is organized crime in Providence, where corruption is surprisingly rampant. Each episode of Crimetown runs between 35 and 40 minutes, a good sweet spot for many commutes.
8. In the Dark
In the vein of Serial and Making a Murderer, the In the Dark podcast spent its first season taking a deep look at one case. In it, journalist Madeleine Baran examines the case of Jacob Wetterling, a Minnesota boy who disappeared in 1989.
The case puzzled authorities for years until it was finally (and surprisingly) solved in 2016. The nine-episode first season should keep your commutes interesting for at least a week, and there’s good news: American Public Media is working on a second season of In the Dark.
If you’re interested in movies and Hollywood, the You Must Remember This podcast is a must-listen.
Each episode of the series tells a story from the first century of Hollywood, many of them looking at big-name actors such as Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, and Joan Crawford. Film journalist Karina Longworth created the podcast, which is distributed by Panoply and Slate Magazine.
If you’re looking to learn about the true history of some of the brightest stars from Hollywood’s past, give You Must Remember This a shot on your next commute.
The popularity of soccer has grown significantly in the U.S. over the past decade, but it can still be tough to find hard-hitting news and in-depth analysis from experts who know the world game. That’s were BBC Radio’s World Football Phone-In comes in.
Each episode of the weekly podcast features two guests. One is Tim Vickery, a soccer historian with a particular expertise in South American football. The other guest spot rotates experts from other regions, including North America, Europe, and Africa.
If you’re into sports outside of the U.S., World Football Phone-In will make your Monday commute much livelier.
11. Bad With Money
As the title indicates, Bad With Money deals with a topic we’re all familiar with: money.
That said, this isn’t the type of financial podcast that will give you tips from experts on how to maximize your income and curb spending habits. Rather, host Gaby Dunn chats with a variety of actors, comedians, artists, and others about the things money can make us do.
In the end, the podcast is truly entertaining, but it can also teach you a thing or two about how to manage your money.
If the goal of finding a good podcast is to keep you intrigued during the otherwise boring daily commute, Distraction Pieces fits that bill perfectly. Spoken word artist DJ Scroobius Pips hosts the series, which can be described as in-depth conversations with a variety of interesting people.
One week you might get a doctor chatting about the science of recreational drugs, the next you might hear an electronic dance music artist on the craft of creating and recording a hit record. No matter what you get, however, Distraction Pieces will help your commute ease by in no time.
What Do You Listen to on Your Commute?
Like taxes or visiting the dentist, the daily commute is something that many of us dread but still have to do.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be painful. You just need to figure out how to make your commute easier. Try a handful of these podcasts and you may even start looking forward to your daily commute.
What’s your go-to podcast for driving to and from work? Please let us know in the comments below.